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OHA helps stop beaver trapping ban

By November 28, 2020December 27th, 2020OHA News, OHA Wildlife

By Amy Patrick, OHA Outreach Coordinator
Amy@oregonhunters.org
OHA, along with a coalition of sportsmen’s and natural resource associations, successfully defended the right to trap beaver on federally managed public lands in Oregon.
The topic was discussed, for the second time this year, at the November Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting, with the petitioners seeking to permanently end all beaver trapping on over 53 percent of the state.
The commission voted down the petition in a 3-3 split vote with commissioners Wahl, Wolley, and Zarnowitz voting for the petition and commissioners Labhart, Spelbrink, and Hatfield-Hyde voting against it. The commission went on to approve a return to the workgroups previously sanctioned in the June meeting.
State-specific, scientific research to link trapping mortality to decreased beaver populations was starkly absent from the materials presented to justify the petition. OHA’s input to the commission continues to be rooted in science-based wildlife management, an argument which resonated with those that voted against the petition’s acceptance.
ODFW staff recommended denying the petition, based on a lack of scientific evidence, a position that led petitioners to repeatedly attack ODFW staff and leadership with overt disdain, baselessly accusing them of dishonesty and ineptitude.
OHA’s testimony supported the staff recommendation to deny the petition and again called for exhaustive, state-specific research regarding beaver population health before any broad-sweeping species management decisions could be made.
The tie vote constitutes a win for trappers, hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts, but the fight is not over. The petitioners, having attempted and failed twice, will likely renew their efforts through a variety of angles, including legislative maneuvering and a return to the Fish and Wildlife Commission when new commissioners have been appointed.
Commissioners are appointed by the governor; therefore, advocating for hunting, fishing, and trapping representatives to be placed on the commission is extremely important to the outcome of this topic and many others ahead of us.
OHA will continue to advocate for the interests of Oregon sportsmen and sound wildlife management in these discussions.

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